Spies! I tell you, Spies!

Our competitors are so desperate that they have hired spies to work out what we are looking at, at the moment.

Seagull spying on John Glasgow City-20140217-00039

Luckily John was on his lunch break, reading Krugman’s column. So nothing was revealed.

On an unrelated note, there is a mistake in the Slav book. In one diagram White has pawns on a2, b2 and b3. With 2.c4 on the board, this was some achievement! Blame me…

47 thoughts on “Spies! I tell you, Spies!”

  1. Gilchrist is a Legend

    Did you just see it today, or did the printer decide to be nice? Regardless, typos or not, I am ready to read GM17 even if the diagram happens to have 20 pawns thereon.

    Is that Sauchiehall St in the backdrop?

  2. Gilchrist is a Legend :
    Did you just see it today, or did the printer decide to be nice? Regardless, typos or not, I am ready to read GM17 even if the diagram happens to have 20 pawns thereon.
    Is that Sauchiehall St in the backdrop?

    I spotted the dodgy pawn on a pdf, so the printer is still on the same schedule. And no, that’s Bothwell Street.

  3. Yes, he has been right. Had his suggestions been more carefully followed the stimulus would have been far more effective. As it stands, our (US) inequality generating doldrums (the result of right wing tampering) has been more effective than the austerity tried elsewhere. Krugman is a Nobel laureate after all.

  4. @Mark Moorman
    Some Nobel laureate’s in economics have been wrong about everything. I am not sure Krugman feels that this accolade is important. Actually I remember him saying that it only means that you should listen to people; not that you should take them seriously! The funny thing is, unlike Stiglitz, Krugman actually does not mix his political views and his economic views. He does not see a clear cut reason why economic growth and economic equality (more of, not total, of course) are necessarily symbiotic. I personally have no idea :-). I just don’t think it make sense for billionaires to make even more money, after destroying the world economy…

  5. Yes, I did not mean that laurels confer a special access to truth—that would be a fallacy—an “appeal to authority.” Unfortunately, in the US there is a group on the right who are proud of their “anti-intellectualism,” (for instance Sarah Palin admitted to reading NO daily newspapers, or GW Bush to “not doing nuance”). So, those of us on the far left are often arguing with people who doubt the probabilities involved in climate science, or believe in the account of cosmological origins given in the Book of Genesis, etc.. So, I meant that the Nobel prize might give one a presumption that Krugman knows something about the field in question and needs to be rationally refuted, and not simply dismissed. It is somewhat like a title in chess (from my perspective ANY title)—I assume the person deserves respect for the accomplishment and their opinions are not to be lightly dismissed. This does not mean they are infallible.

  6. I have to add one aside on inequality here in the US. We have the odd phenomenon, especially in the Confederate and cowboy states, that the (white) working class is against their own interests (single payer health care, more taxes and regulations of the super rich and corporations, etc.). There are two reasons for this. The first is that they believe a racist narrative that any such government programs will involve a transfer of their wages to some group of “others,” of a different shade, who will be gaming the system at the emergency room. They conveniently ignore a whole lot of facts to believe this narrative. These same people loved FDR when Jim Crow was in place to channel government aid to whites only. The second reason was put perfectly by John Steinbeck (I paraphrase, I hope): ‘the American working man does not see himself as part of an oppressed proletariat—rather, he sees himself as a temporarily embarrassed millionaire.’ So, these people hope to win the lottery and enjoy the fruits of inequality. 🙂 Help!!!

  7. @Mark Moorman
    While we are on a US politics tangent, I will mention that the USA was the big hope of Karl Marx as the country where his views would take hold. He thought Russia was rather backward.

    Just in case anyone is wondering, I am not now nor have I ever been a Marxist. Just, by European standards, a normal social democratic type.

    I had just finished typing “Marxist” when the seagull reappeared on the ledge. Maybe it is not an NIC spy but NSA?

  8. I, too, am a social democratic type—lifelong personal ties with Denmark have always made me an admirer of the “Scandinavian model” for my own country. Sadly, Denmark has moved rightward and is having some xenophobic rumblings of its own. I have studied quite a bit of Marx and Lukács, but I am not a card carrying member. I think Marxism often analyzes the ills of capitalism accurately—such as “alienation,” or the fact that capital and labor are global phenomena. The prescriptions, have, of course miscarried horribly. Funnily enough, one of my great, great grandfathers was a Prussian “Forty-eighter” who was a friend of Fritz Anneke and an admirer of Marx. He was a true revolutionary and deserted from Anneke’s 34th Wisconsin. The WHOLE regiment was trouble and was cashiered! Another great, great was a quaker underground railway conductor—so we have been rocking the boat here for a long time!

  9. Shurlock Ventriloquist

    hybrid economies … nuff said /// its been a long time since i read GLOBAL RIFT but not much has changed … the usa still has large swaths of institutionally inculcated myopes clinging to silly idea of american exceptionalism, spouting jingoistic nonsense and waving silly flags … the darkening and thickening of the great american stew has a lot of misanthropes on the verge of panic and they look now to their faith/media/sports/military gurus for guidance from the onslaught of progressive thinking and behavior

    end times are approaching! the globalist nwo reptilian overlords like krugman will eventually feel the wrath of the almighty savior!


  10. @Mark Moorman
    I’m not a Marxist either, but at least he was right on the accumulation of capital, which we see now happening on a big scale. It seems only a matter of time before the jobless poor start an uprising just as in the end of the 19th century. By the way, maybe Krugman has been right many times, but the funny thing about the ‘science’ of economy is that in hindsight you can always some economist who has been right all along – it’s perfect at ex post predictions but somewhat less good at predicting before the damage has been done 🙂

  11. Somehow my comment got stuck in moderation:

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Krugman wrote in the New York Times that he thought a housing bubble would be a GOOD idea. He urged the Fed Chairman to create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble. The same housing bubble that led to years of recession. I don’t know if I would consider that being right, exactly. However, he did anticipate the same economic policy promoted by The Onion six years later: http://www.theonion.com/articles/recessionplagued-nation-demands-new-bubble-to-inve,2486/

  12. Krugman responds. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/me-and-the-bubble/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
    The bubble was a complex phenomenon that will not be hashed out satisfactorily on a chess blog. The right likes to blame Barney Frank for trying to put people of color into homes they could not afford (of course this was Jack Kemp’s idea). My take is that the lion’s share of the blame was deregulation of banking and good, old fashioned free market greed—not by overly ambitious would be homeowners, but by the people pushing and packaging the mortgages into derivatives and selling them to Belgian pension funds. Who cares about the underlying risk when you have churned your fees and pass the risk on to strangers.

  13. “Everything” is of course an exaggeration to make a point. I think the response to various comments on Krugman is two-fold. 1) He admits that the financial crisis took him completely by surprise and has never pretended otherwise. His defence is that he has deepened his knowledge as things have moved. 2) Actually we really have a scenario where we can see who said what and who were right. The predictions by Krugman and others on the effects of austerity have been right, while the people arguing for it have clearly been wrong. And it is easy to understand why.

    About Denmark having taken a right-wing turn. I agree. The main problem has been the eroding of the social security without a lowering of taxes. You get high taxes, high intervention into your private life and less and less benefits. I could write a book on why the whole model is flawed.

    Unlike John I am not a Social Democrat. I find that the underlying ideology is that “we know how you should live your life better than you do”, combined with the common socialist ideology of “someone else should pay”. I am also not a conservative, as their ideology seems to be that the rich deserves more power and we should simply thank them for their existence.

    I am Liberal in the best meaning of the word. I do think Liberals in general listen most to science, which is probably my true ideology of choice. At times I am VERY angry at the Liberals in the UK, or locally. And it is almost always when they are doing things our of “necessity”. Like closing our local school. It was poor economics. So we fought the council and they backed down. Or when we agreed to a raise in tuition fees for University. Also poor economics in my opinion – but not a Liberal fault. Both the Conservatives and Labour wanted to do it, so we had to budge. Worst of all have however been the way we have taken “credit” for the economic recovery – when it has been worse than France’s and worse than our own in the 1930’s. But I guess this is politics for you…

  14. Tangent time—forgive me. The changes I sense in Denmark do not necessarily concern changes in policy, though the Mogens Glistrup “tommermand” is still with us (sorry can’t find Dansk letters on my keyboard at the moment). It is a change in attitude. I am not saying these feelings are universal, just there in some few. I will relate two anecdotes—that are nothing more than that. I am facebook friends with one of my Danish friends (adult now) kids. I was somehow led to a Danish FB page that was dedicated to stopping Mosques in Denmark. A young woman made a post about how non-Danish Danes had no respect for Danish ways and were “destroying the Danish land.” In the Summer of 2011 we spent quite a bit of time in Denmark. In Copenhagen we rented an apartment across the street from the botanical gardens and very close to Fredericksborg slot. As an early riser with 3 teenagers—each morning I traversed the Fredericksborg slot park to go to a bakery to buy wonderful bread, croissants, pain au chocolat, etc., to bring back to the apartment. On Saturday and Sunday mornings the park looked like a frat party had happened. Totally trashed with beer party refuse. One Saturday two young Danes were still drunk and drinking by the moat in which they were tossing their beer cans. Who was cleaning up this mess each morning?? A Somali refugee in a City of Copenhagen sanitation worker outfit. When I related this story at the “no mosque”page I was told to mind my own business, and that this man was probably a criminal doing community service. This change is not a welcome one, imo. My second anecdote concerns the Embassy of Denmark here in the US. Their FB page is filled with endless stories about how great Denmark is, and it even features soldiers serving alongside US forces in our illegal war in Iraq. The embassy is pushing the “Danish brand,” and appealing to some stereotype of what they think Americans want to hear. I miss the old Denmark—peace loving, a conscience for the world, modest, leading on issues like Apartheid, and Palestine, etc., etc.. Now it feels a bit like “mini-USA”—at least the nationalistic, militaristic, proud, jingoistic nonsense. Yes—Denmark STILL leads on many things (wind power, eg), BUT I miss the quiet, soft-spoken, modest demeanor that I felt was showing Americans how one should act. OK, those are my two tangential anecdotes vis a vis Denmark.

  15. You’re all idiots about economics and politics. Would you all just stick to your day jobs and talk about chess? Otherwise, I’m going to chime in, and you don’t want a reactionary cowboy American like me, who makes Barry Goldwater seem like Truman Capote by comparison, do that, now do you???

    Besides, everybody with a brain knows that the seagull just wants to know when the book on the Pelikan Variation will be done.

  16. Oh God, I don’t come here to read anti-US rants from some idiot who believes half the country is racist. We have an African American president who won presidential elections (twice) by an overwhelming margin in democratically held elections.

    Go spew somewhere else.

  17. Alan from Oregon

    Love the thread, and Krugman. Maybe America isn’t so racist anymore (although I won’t vouch for Florida), but the the banks and corporations have way too much influence.

    Spew on!

  18. We are not anti-American in the office at all. I know some people are; but then I am sure a lot of Americans consider half of Europe backwater socialists :-).

    I might be an idiot when it comes to economy and politics; but at least the minister for the economy thanked me for raising an important point a few weeks back. As we say in Danish: even a blind chicken can step in a s***. But yes, let’s get back to chess. My only defence is, we did not bring this up; someone was reading over John’s shoulder!

  19. Typical ad hominem. Most whites did not vote for Obama, especially those over 40. The Tea party said nothing and supported the biggest deficit hog ever, GWB—and only when Obama took office did they start their rants. Trayvon Martin and the latest “loud music” murder show what is going on. My wife is from Guyana and my three kids are mixed—I can tell you there is differential treatment still in the USA. I am American, AND anti-American—deal with it son. I understand that this is a place for chess and I will drop further political comments. I did not want to be silenced by people calling me an “idiot.” I have Master’s degrees with distinction from Cambridge and Georgetown so I have not generally been considered an “idiot.”
    I will not comment here again—no matter what insults or threats fly. This out of respect for those who run a chess, not a political blog—not because of Seth’s thin skinned inability to entertain ideas that conflict with his own. (Poof—-keep up the good work at Quality Chess).

  20. I will add a non-political word on the phenomenology of my postings. I was originally going to make a “Bird’s Opening” joke—too late. I saw the Krugman article on the screen and was going to commend the selection, BUT I thought “too political.” I read Mr Trofke’s mildly disparaging remark about Krugman and thought about rebutting it, BUT I still concluded: “let it go Mark—this is chess.” Only AFTER others rebutted it did I chime in with my (long winded) opinions. So, I was not some eager beaver trolling for trouble.

  21. One of these things is not like the others:

    1st black president of USA – ?
    1st black president of France – ?
    1st black president of Italy – ?
    1st black chancellor of Germany – ?
    1st black prime minister of UK – ?

  22. And yet racist America has a black president, while enlightened European countries do not. Hmmm….

    Hating your own country doesn’t make you more noble or moral, Mr. Moorman. It just makes you a masochist.

  23. @The Lurker
    1st president of a ‘democratic’ country ordering to kill persons without any form of trial and against international law (I’m referring to drone strikes)?
    1st president of a ‘democratic’ to condone the invasion of privacy on an unprecedented scale (I’m referring to the NSA-scandal)
    1st president to preach to the Russians on their anti-gay laws while allowing the same laws to persist in his own country?

    It’s deeds that count, not colour, sex, age, or whatever.

  24. We also do not have many black people; the talent pool is small. But in the UK we had a woman PM and a blind home secretary. I am of course Danish and I worked for the first muslim to be elected to parliament. At the moment DK is lead by a coalition of three parties all with female leaders. Germany has a gay president of a state (has this happened in the US yet?). Sure we are not equal, but we at least have earned the right to speak about it :-). Not that I want to!

  25. Dear Lurker,
    I am not angry with you, and I am making no attempt to be noble. I stated some of my sincerely held beliefs. I did allow myself to be miffed by being called a ranting idiot. My point on race is that we need to do nuance here. You appear to be claiming that Obama’s election signifies that the US is now a post-racist society. I would agree that we have made great progress since the year of my birth, 1961—at which time my marriage to my wife would have been illegal in Maryland, and my children would have been barred from attending the University of Maryland. However, a large chunk of whites (more than half) did not vote for him. Over age 40 and then over age 65 the white numbers are worse. So, to my mind we have made progress, BUT we are still a very racist society. I point to mass incarceration, differential sentencing, Trayvon Martin, the latest killing of a black boy, police brutality, or simply that black people are treated like crap in zillions of little ways on a daily basis. I had to give my teenage son—who is half/ half the “police safety lecture” when he got his license a few months ago. “If stopped by a cop while driving, keep your hands in sight until he says it is OK to look for your license and open the glove box to get the registration. Don’t argue, be polite.” THAT is the reality in America whether it makes you happy or not.

  26. Mark,

    I’m not saying that the US is post-racial, but I’m so tired of all the anti-Americanism. Hence my pointing out that we *did* have a minority president before any of the other major European nations, so we must not be *that* bad.

    The majority of the people who voted for Obama were white. If it weren’t for white voters he wouldn’t have been elected. I believe the white vote for/against Obama was about the same as for/against Carter or Mondale. Maybe people just voted against him because they disagreed with his politics? Or is that automatically racist now? Also, the percentages of blacks who voted for McCain and Romney were miniscule compared to the percentage of whites who voted for Obama. So if whites were racist for voting predominantly against Obama, what does that make blacks? Or is it only racist to vote in your own perceived self-interest when you are white?

    As for Trayvon Martin, he was a kid who was dumb enough to have jumped a guy who, it turned out, had a gun, and he got killed. Zimmerman was found to have acted in self-defense. What exactly is racist about the whole sad affair of one dumb guy shooting and killing another dumb guy in self-defense? Except for the hay the left tried to make of it, I can’t think of anything. And, in general, black-on-white violence is much more common than the other way around. Actually, white-on-black violence is so uncommon it’s practically lost in the statistical noise.

    As for the “police safety lecture”, I am also polite, keep my hands in sight, don’t argue, etc., so that I am not hassled unduly by police when I am pulled over. I thought everybody with a brain did that. I certainly don’t antagonize white police, in the knowledge that it’ll be OK because we’re both members of the White Man’s Club. The very notion is absurd.

    In short #1) America isn’t that racist, #2) the fact that we elected Obama does mean something, and #3) being opposed to socialism doesn’t make one racist.


    OK, how about the 1st Pakistani PM? The 1st Jewish Chancellor of Germany?


    WTF? OK, #1) Germany (Hitler). #2) Germany (Hitler). After all, Hitler did rise to power democratically. (Oops, did I invoke Godwin’s Law?)

    #3) Obama is not capable of single-handedly eliminating all laws that you don’t like. He’s not an emperor (although he wants to be). He’s the executive. The executive branch is responsible for enforcing the federal laws. The judicial branch is responsible for determining if laws are unconstitutional, and the legislative for repealing laws. See how that works?

  27. Thanks—I did attend law school for two years before deciding I did not wish to be a lawyer. I did well, and I have studied the philosophy of law in graduate school too. . So, thanks for the tips on how our system works. Nowhere did I advocate imperial rule. I voted for Obama but I am actually quite unhappy with him—he is not far enough left, or radical enough for me. I want war crimes trials, CEOs held responsible, single payer health care, caps on compensation, put the military on a leash, etc., etc..

  28. @ GM Aagaard. It is very apparent in light of many posts that my responding to Mr Tropfke maligning of Paul Krugman has ruffled some American feathers here. I will self-censor. I can’t seem to delete my remarks or my account. Would you please close out my ability to post here—and if possible simply delete all of my posts. Very simple. I agree that this should be a place for chess. As a gentleman, I do not wish to cause problems for others. I am enjoying my 4 QC books—TY very much. Good luck to you and your company in the future. Not checking in here will also self-silence—so we can try a two-front approach. My apologies for any disruption of what is, after all, a business. Kind Regards, MDM

  29. Hmmm…. Don’t know what’s going on here, Mark, or is it Ray? The last post of mine was addressed in three parts to Mark, Jacob, and Ray, respectively. The part about the tripartite nature of American government was addressed to Ray, not Mark.

  30. My anti-American comment and post in general wasn’t directed at you at all, Jacob. Rather at Mark, whose posts I’m no longer reading.

  31. @The Lurker
    You’re right, I forgot about Hitler having been elected democratically. So I guess Obama is not the first and that makes it allright then to act like Hitler (your comparison).

  32. @Mark Moorman
    Nah, a few rants only liven things up. It is ok not to agree on things. Don’t forget that it is ok for other people to disagree with you, just as it is ok for them not to agree with you…

  33. Chess is all about thought processes and their flaws. One common flaw in the discussion so far has been the believe that you can prove something by just one example. This simply doesn’t work out in general. It’s like arguing: “If I find only one variation that is looking good, I can play this move”. One example is only sufficient to prove that something exists or is possible. It can’t back up a general trend. The fact that Germany had a gay foreign minister only proofs that gay people can become foreign minister in Germany. It doesn’t tell you anything about tolerance of the overall population towards gay people (which still is on a fairly low level).

  34. Indeed. It is only equality when all the German politicians are gay.

    And with this timeless observation we end this tread :-).

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